Singing Their Joy
The People hear their clan singing their joy at returning, their chirps and squeals, their clicking talk. We gather to greet them, also singing happiness, laughing and talking. For both clans it is a time of feasting.
The men joke as they keep watch. We can see their spiraled tusks, but these ones are too far off, these ones are not ready. Hundreds more are returning to us. There will be those who will come close, will give themselves to the People. We are grateful, waste nothing. We carve their stories in ivory, so the tuugaalik will live forever.
This week at Carrot Ranch, Charli would have us writing of unicorns. Many people are fascinated with these mystical creatures. I am not one of those people. But the prompt did lead me to the Arctic, where Tuugaalik is still hunted by the Inuit. To me Monodon monoceros, the narwhal whale, unicorn of the sea, is more interesting than a horned horse. Perhaps because of the healthy, sustainable relationship between the tuugaalik and the Inuit, this creature is less elusive than the classical unicorn.
February 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by February 27, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 28). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
Paul Scribbles tells us that d’Verse is “a pub where only virtual drinks are drunk and where the real selection on offer is the talent of the group to create word wizardry from any prompt”. I have enjoyed the work of the poets who gather there. When Mr. Scribbles recently suggested that we “Pen a poem about drinking and be as creative as you wish with the word”, well I thirsted to participate, even though I am short on time. I won’t be mixing up a new concoction for this prompt, but will share the following poem from Chicken Shift, my book of fowl road crossings and foul roadkill.
A chicken walks into a bar
Then realizes she’s in the wrong joke
Sits beside the gorilla anyway,
Orders a Jim and coke.
She looks to her other side
And who is sitting there?
Eating shoots and leaves
She sees a Panda bear.
And in the backroom, reserved for cigar smokers
She sees a group of dogs, around a table playing poker.
She has another drink, says, “I lay, but I don’t lie.
I’ve got to cross the road, though I can’t think why.”
The gorilla was gallant, he picked up her tab
And he suggested it’d be best to cross the road by cab.
Carrot Ranch February 15, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. It can be an event on ice, a game on ice or a drink on ice. Go where the prompt leads you. Respond by February 20, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 21). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
This follows “Ground Cover” from last week.
The previous summer she’d led him to Montreal after following him off the farm. Now the frozen river was breaking up, ice mosaics shifting, jostling, eager for spring.
He would continue west. Was she coming?
“No. I’m staying.”
She loved him. She loved the promise of the city more.
“Be careful.” He kissed her then walked away packing no more possessions than when they had first met.
There goes a beggar, naked
Except for his robes
Of Heaven and Earth
His oft quoted Kikaku.
What kind of a father might he have been, she wondered, stroking her swelling belly.
Low tones softly
spoken almost hummed
hard to hear harder
to Speak Up play down
fears muttering or mumbling.
Might be mine ear stumbling
on muffled strings
of words that are strummed
words that maybe
sing possibly thrum muted
murmurings of love.
At dVerse, WhimsyGizmo would have us “Murmur something poetic in exactly 44 words, including some semblance of the word murmur. Get creative if you’d like, and have some fun with it, but please be sure some form the word “murmur” appears in your poem, and that your word count adds up to exactly 44, not including the title”. Click HERE to go there and see more poetry or to give it a try yourself.
I’ll never forget seeing acres and acres of burned forest. Some charred trunks still standing, silent memorials amidst a resounding choir of color, the purples and reds of riotous fireweed echoing brightly. There was a challenge for allegiance, a yearning for what had been and for what might be. The tree trunks intoned of past trauma as the fireweed sang the refrain of resilience. It was beautiful and it was ugly. It was awesome and it was eerie.
The vast sea of fireweed lapped at the shore of road that I stood on with my family. I wanted to wade out to a blackened tree trunk but was overwhelmed by the waves of color, by the surge tide of so many plants in the wake of fire. My father assured me that this flood would recede and that the forest would emerge again. I had to believe him, had to have faith that green trees would quiet the roar of color that stung my eyes.
Back in the truck I stared out the window for miles at this powerfully incongruous scene. Later the visual memory would appear unbidden, and whisper a reminder of the immeasurable capacities of the human spirit.
One part of C.Jai Ferry’s challenge for her continuing twitter tutelage is to write a 200-word story (give or take on the words) incorporating the theme of congruency. See more at Carrot Ranch and #twitterflash.
All landscapes and their flora are the story they tell. No matter what has transpired, plants arrive as angels, filling a niche, fulfilling a need. You can study it as pioneering species and plant succession, but better yet as an interdependent community, an ecosystem always striving towards health and wholeness. Farmers and gardeners should follow the lead of nature in their human endeavors. Wes Jackson comes to mind for his work at The Land Institute where he promotes perennial polyculture to make agriculture more sustainable and more ecologically healthy. Plants speak for the soil, which sustains the plants, which sustain the soil, which sustains the plants that also sustain us; we might want to pay attention to the stories a landscape is telling.
That’s a rant that hopefully didn’t send you away from my 99 word flash prompted by Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch this week.
Though she didn’t know him, she climbed the granite boulder underneath the craggy maple and sat with him looking over the hayfield.
A beautiful quilt he said, the red and orange paintbrush, the blue chicory. She loved how he spoke, but bluntly informed him those were weeds that covered poor soil. Then she blushed; the weeds exposed her family’s poverty, her father’s laziness and ineptitude. This field should be green, not the colors of scars and bruises.
She noted his backpack and tightly rolled sleeping bag. “Don’t go yet,” she instructed him. “I need to get a few things.”
Carrot Ranch February 8, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fireweed. You can use it as the plant, a flower, a metaphor or as the name of someone or something. Go where the prompt leads. Burn bright when you write. Respond by February 13, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 14). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!